6 Simple Steps to Writing Seductive Web Copy

Image of a Woman's Lips

How seductive are you?

I’m not a great seducer.

I don’t have a string of conquests to boast about. I’m no modern Cleopatra.

But as a marketer and copywriter, I’ve studied the seductive techniques that big brands use to win customers.

How does Apple tempt us to part with our hard-earned cash and trade in a perfectly fine iPhone 4 for an iPhone 5?

How did Amazon ever persuade me to read books on a Kindle when I love the look, feel, and smell of real books?

The “secret” to writing seductive web copy is to follow a proven 6-step process.

To get started, you need to know exactly who you want to seduce …

1. Describe your ideal reader

Describing (and visualizing) your ideal reader makes your web copy much more vivid and personal.

This doesn’t mean that you will sell your product or service only to that person. It means that whoever closely matches your ideal reader should feel that your content is written for him.

Your ideal reader should become like an imaginary friend. You should know your ideal reader so well that you can start a conversation with her at any time. You know when she shakes her head because you say something she doesn’t agree with. You know what makes her smile or laugh. You know the questions she asks. You know how to charm and flatter her.

When describing your ideal reader, don’t just think about demographics like age, gender, income, education, and family circumstances. Do you know what he dreams of achieving? And what keeps her awake at 3am?

Whenever you’re writing web copy, imagine that you’re writing for your ideal reader. Your writing will become more charming, more interesting, and more persuasive.

2. Create a comprehensive list of features, benefits, and objections

You love to talk about your company. Your products. Your services.

Maybe you’re excited about the recent improvements you’ve made to your service, or about the new skills you’ve learned. Or, maybe you’ve spent many months developing new features for your products.

You’re selling your product or service, so that’s what you need to write about, right?

Wrong.

The hard truth is that nobody is interested in you, your company, or your products, because people are only interested in themselves.

Famous direct response copywriters like John Caples, Eugene Schwartz, and Joe Sugarman have all said it: To sell your products, you need to focus on the benefits to your readers.

Before you start writing your web copy, finalize your research:

  • Create a full list of features and specifications
  • Translate each feature into a benefit for your ideal reader
  • Consider the problems you help avoid
  • Write down the objections to buying from you and decide how you can address them

Doing research and planning your web copy will help you create more seductive web copy.

3. Develop an enticing value proposition

Is your value proposition your magic pick-up line?

Many guys think you only need to know a few magic words to seduce a girl, but that’s — of course — far from the truth. You need to know the right words to start a conversation, so that a girl gives you the opportunity to show her how much fun it is to be with you.

Your value proposition isn’t a magic pick-up line either. It’s your conversation starter. It entices your ideal reader to learn more about you.

A value proposition usually consists of a headline, possibly a subheading, and three to five bullet points. Your headline can simply state what you do or mention the key benefit of working with you.

Web visitors are in a hurry; they make lightning decisions as to whether a website is right for them or not. Your headline should be clear, credible, and concise. Don’t use clever wordplay.

As usability expert Steve Krug suggests: Don’t make your web visitors think!

4. Write a first draft

Let’s say a new reader has arrived at your site …

Your headline and bullet points encourage her to find out more about you. You’ve started a conversation; and now you need to charm her with your product or service — you need to describe your offer and persuade your web visitor to take action.

You might want a web visitor to buy directly from you, to set up a free initial consultation, or to sign up for your e-newsletter. But you need to persuade her to take action and address her objections to doing so.

If you have your list of features, benefits, and objections, it’s easy to decide which content to use on which page. Make your copy comprehensive and persuasive by mentioning all benefits of working with you, and by addressing all objections your visitor may have.

Writing web copy that works simply means persuading your ideal reader to take the next step in the selling process. Make sure your prospect knows what next step to take.

Feel free to be bossy and tell him exactly what to do NOW ;-)

5. Edit your copy

Editing isn’t just about correcting grammar goofs and spelling mistakes. You need to make your copy more engaging, credible and persuasive.

Consider the following steps when editing your copy:

  • Check your list of features, benefits, and objections to ensure you don’t miss any important sales messages
  • Edit your web copy for scanners; create enticing subheadings and fascinating bullet points; and follow the inverted pyramid
  • Make your copy more credible and persuasive by using copywriting techniques
  • Boost your web copy’s readability by tightening and simplifying your text
  • Proofread to correct typos

Read your web copy aloud and imagine you’re talking to your ideal reader. Does he understand it? Does he like it? Does it persuade him to take action?

6. Optimize your copy

Do you want to seduce Google, too?

And tempt the almighty search engine to send you some extra traffic?

Usually when you write for your ideal reader, your web pages are SEO-friendly, too. Use the same words your ideal reader uses and you have a better chance of being found in Google.

Writing frequently about your area of expertise is good for your readers. It’s also good for search engine optimization.

Using the language of your customer is good for your readers. It’s also good for search engine optimization.

Developing a broad network of experts and web publishers in your topic, and referencing their ideas (including with links) in your content, is good for your readers. It’s also good for search engine optimization.

Always write your copy for your ideal reader first, and optimize for search engines later.

A “secret” to picking up more customers …

Creating seductive web copy isn’t only about writing.

The “secret” to being persuasive is to choose an ideal reader you love working with. Understand exactly who you’re writing for and what makes him tick. Answer his questions and make him smile. Hold an imaginary conversation together. Have some fun. And show him your passion for your business and what he’ll get out of that passion.

Your copy will be more engaging and seductive. And you’ll win more customers and more raving fans.

P.S. If you’re looking for even more in-depth tips on how all this really works online, download your copy of my new How to Write Seductive Web Copy.

About the Author: Henneke Duistermaat is an irreverent copywriter and marketer. She's on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and to make boring business blogs sparkle. Get her free 16-Part Snackable Writing Course for Busy People and learn how to enchant your readers and win more business.

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Comments

  1. The headline instantly captured the attention and the content flow seduces the reader to obey the instructions you have mentioned :)

    I like your example about “Is your value proposition your magic pick-up line?” It’s actually the opener which gets the attention first to listen to what we have to say, and then the exiting introduction which holds the reader from bouncing out of the web page. **Like what happens every night in London’s biggest clubs, where all those seduction specialists roam to grab the prospects attention and hold them to take action.

    Adding a little to the point “Optimize your copy”, I have been testing this with content copies which I published and didn’t really convert the traffic the way I expected. Changing the headline and introduction few times even after publishing has given some great advantages for some of my content marketing efforts.

    Thanks for the awesome article Henneke and I’m just going to see what’s on “How to Write Seductive Web Cop”

  2. Great tips. I don’t have any products to sell yet, but I have bookmarked this page for a reference when I do. Thanks!

  3. Enjoyed the book – great stuff – well written. Actually fun to read. Jake – get the book – it’s FREE.

  4. Wow i must say all the 6 tips were very good.i hope they will help me to write seductive web copy for my blog.
    thanx a lot for this
    Regards
    rahul

  5. All of these points are undeniable, but I think it’s interesting that identifying and describing your ideal reader has parallels with other forms of writing. Novelists and playwrights go to great lengths to get to know, not so much their readers, but the characters they plan to write about. Ibsen was famous for this, going as far as to take long train journeys with non-existent people in preparation for the play he was writing. It makes sense to spend some time with your ideal customer.

  6. You can do more than imagine the language your ideal customer uses. If he follows you on Facebook, you can ask him survey questions to find out the words he uses to describe your services.

    • Oh yes, of course. And you can read blog comments (my favorite way of doing “market research”) or check out Amazon reviews. There are also cheap web survey tools like Qualaroo and Leadconverter.

      Or just pick up the phone and talk to existing customers!

    • Very true, Malinda, and very savvy.

  7. Thanks for pointing out benefits versus features. Whenever I write web copy, I put myself in the potential customer’s shoes and come up with a list of ways the product or service I’m writing about could positively change my life. And really, who doesn’t want to buy a life changer?

  8. Great post and comments! What do you all think about point #2, namely the idea that the reader isn’t interested in you? Do you think today’s social marketing has changed that theory?

    I think of the many blogs I read, many of them product or service-related. The ones that keep me regularly coming back are those that, yes, offer me a benefit, AND they talk about themselves. It’s like I know them and have become hooked on their lives. penelopetrunk.com is an example of this. She’s a soap opera/marketing genius all rolled into one. And yes, I’ve purchased her product and found it beneficial.

    So what do you think? Have things changed?

    • Excellent point, Di.

      There are always exceptions of course. People like Penelope Trunk or Seth Godin are powerful personality brands – I do think people are interested in them, just like people are interested in what celebrities wear, say, and do.

      And I think you are right – people are interested in transparency; they often want to know who’s behind the brand. Maybe I’ve put it a little too simplistic, but I do find that starting to think from the customer’s point of view hugely helps with making web copy (and marketing in general) more persuasive.

  9. I agree that the first step is to “describe your ideal reader.” Don’t rush this process. Think about it, and then think about it, again. Don’t waste your time creating a website, marketing materials, etc. if you don’t know your ideal reader. You’ll become frustrated and want to give up. Take your time. The internet isn’t going anywhere. :)

    Great post… thanks for the insight!

  10. Maarten Raaijmakers :

    What a great article, it attracted me. The most powerful tool of a seducer in my eyes.

    As a man I know that I already won before I start a conversation with a women. I can fully focus on letting her win, on what she wants. Reading your article writing copy makes as much sense to me as seducing women.

    It’s not only about what you say, but how you say it. In better words, how you touch their feelings.

  11. I really enjoyed this post. Each step is sopt on and I like how actionable each one is. You’re definitely preaching to the choir with me, but it’s always good to be reminded of why we need to understand, know and seduce our ideal clients.

    Thank you for the post!

  12. Henneke, love the tips you share here!

    Practice, practice, practice and read, read, read. You improve by immersing yourself in web copy, by reading spot on posts like these and then by practicing your writing skills.

    Practice make better, and better, and better. Be a web copy junkie; in time your writing and connecting skills will improve tremendously.

    Thanks for sharing!

  13. Archan Mehta :

    Thanks for writing a great post on this fab blog: it resonated with me.

    As a reader, I am not attracted to all blogs and newsletters. There are only a few that grab my attention. Invariably, I end up subscribing to such blogs and newsletters: they should be informative and entertaining, to be sure.

    Thus, you have to be able to answer the question: What’s in it for me?

    You will achieve success if you tap into the mindset of your readers. They are a quirky lot with strong likes and dislikes and with notoriously short attention spans.

    If you web copy and pictorials can hold my attention, you have me there. If not, you have just lost a potential customer.

    And, as a reader, I can tell you from my perspective that I have gained a lot from the link sharing that Copyblogger has dished out on a regular basis. I have come across material/literature that has helped me on my journey. And that has been a big plus in my life. Have a good one.

  14. Great insight on how to create an irresistible web copy! Also my advice would be: write for people – not for Search Engines. Don’t be tempted. I have seen some great posts with hundreds comments on them that we not quite SEO optimized but got an enormous amount of responses. Find your topic you are really good at it. Make a provocative title and you are the winner!

  15. Hi Henneke,

    I’m unable to download/read the book even after using my Amazon login details.

    Can you tell me the steps to download the guide?

    Regards,
    Avadhut

  16. Interesting Ideas. Definitely got drawn in by the title haha.

  17. I find that creating “seductive” content is wholly found in a very simple concept. Mystery.

    Mystery in today’s culture is found everywhere. From being hooked with a cliffhanger on the latest episode of “Lost” and wondering what the next episode will hold for answers to what the island is all about, to the reveal on the next Apple iPhone and wondering what it will have that the previous generations don’t.

    You refer to “secret” multiple times, which revolves around this same concept. But no one can resist a mystery. It drives people to find the answer. It’s epic. It’s enticing. It’s marketing.

    • Yes, you’re right. Mystery, mystique, secrets – these techniques fascinate and keep people reading on, whether it’s a novel or sales copy!

  18. Excellent information…and thanks so much for the FREE book! So generous and helpful. Though I don’t sell products, per se, I have a blog and a contributor website and I want people to read and subscribe…same points apply. I am also developing my professional website and I’m going to check out my heads and copy with your points in mind. Thanks again!

    • You’re welcome, Elise. Hope you enjoy the book! :)

      And yes, the same points apply as you say. Sales copy is any text that is written to get people to take action – whether it’s subscribe to your newsletter or buy something.

  19. Henneke – thanks so much for the awesome tips. Of course, drafting first and then improvising on the copy many times works great. And I totally agree with you when you say if we write for people, its automatically SEOed – as long as we use the exact words that people use to search for information :)

    Oh and I downloaded the book as well – thank you!

  20. Thanks Henneke! Particularly like the idea of speaking to the imaginary friend to focus the mind on them! Book downloaded : )

    Al

    • Henneke | Enchanting Marketing :

      Yes, that’s my favorite trick, too.

      Thank you for downloading the book. I hope you’ll enjoy it!

  21. Love the lips. That seduced me right there. I think all the above tips can also be applied to writing ebooks that appeal–especially know WHO you are writing to! That is the important first step in writing a book that WOWS!

  22. Hi Henneke,

    Comming from a strange place called pickup – breaking down how to seduce women into facts kinda strange – I see loads of overlap with copywriting.

    One thing we’re talking about is how to make her qualify herself. How to make sure that someone feels committed to a cause by investing. By wanting to show you how great she is.

    We all know, that when you’re doing all the talking people lose interest. What people, and what she, really want(s) is to participate. And even more so, to feel valued.

    So good copy is again all about them or, about her. Writing in a way that makes them feel valued will attract a heap more interest than say… blurting about yourself.

    What you want ultimately is to make everyone feel like a winner, right?

    So thanks for the article and oh… I also downloaded the book!

  23. After the sexy title, I would have switched to funny/light-hearted with a reference to Friends episode “The One That Could Have Been.”

    Monica: Do you have any…moves?
    Chandler: I have some moves….
    Monica: Ok. I have no moves.

    That’s what I thought when I saw the title of this post and the first couple of lines of text. But I couldn’t find a picture of that scene…except for the one when she says: “We are gonna do THAT AGAIN!” (people still remember Friends, right?)

  24. Thanks for your article, Henneke. This is a great primer for new copywriters and a solid refresher for those of us who have studied the basics.

    I believe that much of a copywriter’s success (or failure!) comes down to how well he or she appeals to the intended audience. So I appreciate you brought up your point about imagining your ideal reader first.

    Too many copywriters have less than stellar results because they try to appeal to everyone. Maybe they hesitate to screen their prospects out of a fear of losing business.

    Narrowing your focus to only ideal customers allows you to tailor your message and speak directly to them. This personal voice allows you to be more persuasive and convert more prospects into customers.

    -Corey

  25. Your point about not using clever wordplay is a valid one. I see a lot of headlines where the product owner (or the copywriter they employed) has done this, or even worse, tried to engage the reader with humour. Injecting a little bit of light-hearted humour is all well and good in the body copy, but not the headline, as not everyone shares the same sense of humour and may be put off by it. Clear, concise, benefit-driven headlines are the way to go! Thanks Henneke.

  26. Pure awesome sauce!

  27. Great post. So founded on the principles of proven relationship marketing principles.

  28. Thank you for this article. You must’ve known who you were writing for ;)